DuBOIS — Area fire departments recently participated in a 16-hour structure fire class training on Bogle Road in Sandy Township, according to township fire Chief Bill Beers.
“The training was a big success, especially dealing with the hot temperatures over the weekend and how great all of the local fire departments worked as a team to accomplish this training,” said Beers.
The training was held the weekend of July 25-26 and Beers said approximately 60 firefighters participated. In addition to Sandy Township, firefighters from DuBois, Brockway, Sykesville, Reynoldsville, Penfield, Brady Township, Union Township and Big Run also were in attendance.
DuSAN Ambulance also was on hand for rehab, which means to check the firefighters for vitals after they came out of the house after their evaluation, said Beers.
The training took place at a house located at 249 Bogle Road. Beers said a Sandy Township resident donated the house for the training.
CLEARFIELD — Sarah Swope of Luthersburg was crowned the 32nd annual Clearfield County Fair Queen in a ceremony Sunday held on the David H. Litz Grove Stage at the Clearfield Driving Park.
The 17-year-old daughter of Randy and Sue Swope will be a senior during the 2020-2021 school year at DuBois Area High School where she serves as vice president of the school’s National Honor Society, is a member of the school’s Book Club, Quiz Bowl and Poetry Out Loud competition and serves as a youth mentor at Wasson Elementary School.
“I’m overwhelmed,” Swope told The Progress, a sister publication of The Courier Express, just after being selected as the fair’s royal ambassador. “I am really excited about being chosen fair queen. This is a great culmination to the many years I have spent at the fair as a member of 4-H.” She told The Progress she is ready to begin her reign. “I am looking forward to it all however with the COVID-19 pandemic, I don’t know specifically what all of it will be.”
Swope was crowned and received her sash and flowers from the 2019 Clearfield County Fair Queen Rebecca Liddle.
Her court includes first runner-up Breanna McCahan, 18, of Olanta, the daughter of William and Brenda McCahan and second runner-up Chloe Neal, 16, of DuBois, the daughter of Tricia Neal.
Remaining contestants include Allyson Andrulonis, 19 of DuBois and Madison Niebauer, 18, of Irvona.
As part of the scoring system, each of the fair queen contestants wrote an essay using the topic, “What My Fair Means to My Community.” The composition was judged prior to the competition.
During the pageant, each contestant presented a 3 to 5-minute timed speech on the topic, “Why You Should Come to My Fair.” The contestants then changed into evening gowns and returned to the stage to provide some background information about themselves and some of their interests. They also answered an impromptu question: “Many of the fairs across the state were forced to cancel this year as a safety precaution because of the COVID-19 pandemic, if you are crowned the 2020 fair queen, without a traditional fair week, how will you educate others about the Clearfield County Fair and the agriculture industry?” Each of the contestants said they would use a social media platform to get the word out to others about how great the Clearfield County Fair is and what it can offer visitors.
Fair Queen Committee member and contest Coordinator Rachel Davidson said scores for each of the contest components are tallied for a total possible 100 points using a format similar to the state Fair Queen contest.
As the 2020 fair queen, Swope plans to compete in January for the title of Pennsylvania State Fair Queen, if a pageant is held. Davidson said Sunday, because of the pandemic, it has yet to be determined if there will be a contest. Throughout the year Swope plans to represent the fair at numerous events throughout Clearfield County and the state.
Because no banquet was held this year to introduce the contestants and allow Liddle an opportunity to give a farewell address, she provided some brief remarks Sunday.
She praised the contestants calling them, “Some of the strongest women I know” and “Pillars of the community” for their willingness to compete during a year when so much is fluid and uncertain. “Even when there is no fair, these girls saw a need in the community to come together to promote both the fair and agriculture.”
Liddle thanked the Clearfield County Fair Board and the fair queen committee for all their help to her. She said of her reign, “This year has not gone exactly as I’d planned but it turned out to be more than I had ever dreamed.”
Also attending and speaking was the 2020 state Fair Queen Grace VanSciver. She thanked the queens in attendance from the Centre Grange Fair, the Indiana County Fair, the Franklin County Fair and the Schuykill County Fair. “We are stronger when we come together to support agriculture and the fair industry.
The 2018 Clearfield County Fair Queen Jayna Vicary served as the mistress of ceremonies for the event.
ST. MARYS — A 7-year-old St. Marys boy who idolizes police officers recently gained attention through a photo that circulated on social media.
Rylan Layne, 7, is in second grade, and has been fascinated by police for the majority of his life, said his mother Kristin Wileman.
“He reads books about the occupation, and watches videos on YouTube that show the kind of training happening at the (police) academy,” she said. “He recently developed a major interest in SWAT (special weapons and tactics).”
Layne also knows all about basic police officer duties such as patrolling, arrests, Miranda rights and investigations, his mother said.
Layne and Wileman attended the “Come Together: Rural PA for Racial Equality” event held on the Diamond in St. Marys on June 4, where they had a great experience, she said.
At first, Layne was scared to go, Wileman says, due to things he had most likely seen happening in other areas. She told him the police would be there to calm his nerves.
“He asked questions regarding the memorial/awareness photos hanging around the Diamond,” she said. “He enjoyed the activities they set up for the younger crowd. But, of course, he was very excited about being able to visit the officers.”
While at the equality event, Layne asked his mom if he could make a sign that says “We both matter,” rather than one that says, “My life matters.”
“He wanted to show the officers his new sign,” Wileman said.
City of St. Marys Police Department officers Ralph Tettis Jr. and Mitchell Klender crouched down beside Layne for a photo with his sign, something he was very proud of, said Wileman. The photo received a lot of positive attention on Facebook.
“Sure, the world is complicated, but Rylan simplified some of it that day,” she said. “In his heart and mind, he has love and respect for himself, his roots and officers of the law. He wants both sides to be safe from outward harm.”
PUNXSUTAWNEY — The Punxsutawney Area School District continues to prepare for the return of students in the fall, with regular updates to parents about approaching deadlines and expected practice for the 2020-21 school year.
The deadline for parents to decide which of the three models their children will follow is coming up on Aug. 7. Parents must decide if they would like their child to follow a typical five day a week school day, planned flexible instruction three days a week and online lessons the other two, or a full online school year at the district’s eAcademy.
“Students will be provided with face masks and be expected to wear them in compliance with the social distancing guidelines. High school students will also be provided with a portable Plexiglas shield to help promote the social distancing guidelines,” said Manny Barbazzeni, the assistant principal of the high school.
The elementary students will also be provided with two face masks each, and a Plexiglas shield attached to their desks, according to Sheena Smelko, the assistant elementary principal.
In the flexible school option, students at the elementary school will be working in Google Classroom and high school students will use Canvas to complete classwork on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
“Please remember attendance will be checked daily both in the elementary and high school and online as well,” Smelko said.
Students who choose the fully online school will still be considered a student of the Punxsutawney Area School District, which will allow for an easy transition back into the school at any time.
Face masks or similar coverings will have to be worn by students while riding the bus to and from school each day. There will also be no daily bus passes for this school year due to COVID-19.
If a student will not be riding the bus, or needs an alternative bus stop this year, parents are asked to contact the Transportation department at 814-938-5151 ext. 1116 or email Kelly Surkala at email@example.com or Paul Hetrick at firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Thank you, and we hope you have a great 2021 school year,” Barbazzeni said.